COVID-19 reveals inequality that Dominican women face
The Minister of Women, Janet Camilo highlighted the importance of States taking initiatives to quantify the contribution of women to gross domestic product, through the city agenda
SANTO DOMINGO. - The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has exposed the state of inequality in which women live in the Dominican Republic, the lack of public policies that guarantee their economic stability, the lack of access to the health system and, above all, effective methods to prevent violence. This was concluded by several experts during a virtual meeting organized by the Center for Gender Studies of the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (CEG-INTEC).
One of the sectors most affected has been nursing, warned Francisca Peguero, president of the National Nursing Association (Asonaen), who stressed that the 87% of the nursing staff are women and 30% of them have been sent home due to health conditions that put them at risk or because they are over 60 years old.
During the virtual activity "The lives of women in the COVID-19 era", Peguero regretted that nurses are treating patients without proper protection to prevent the spread of the virus. “The protective equipment has not arrived and what they supply us with are masks and surgical suits. The few teams that the directors arrive keep it for specialists, ”he denounced.
“In the private sector the situation is worse, the nurses have been removed from their jobs with nothing. In the case of hospitals attached to military or police agencies, wages are low and nurses are victims of repression, "said Peguero, clearly affected.
Altagracia Valdez, international specialist in gender violence, pondered that el COVID -19 was not endorsed with a change in culture and relationships between women and men. She regretted that, in the High Level Commission, the Ministry of Women was not taken into account as such "with all the weight that the ministry has as a representative of the voice of women at this time."
Valdez recognized that COVID-19 showed that economic, political and sociocultural paradigms must change, and the clarity that investment in health in an integral way needs a profound change.
"If crises bring changes, this is the time for women to become aware of the subordination in which we have lived and how we have fallen behind politicians and human beings who do not take us into consideration, even in these precarious moments" , emphasized the specialist.
The webinar that was broadcast on the INTEC YouTube channel, under the moderation of Fátima Lorenzo, coordinator of the INTEC Center for Gender Studies (CEG-INTEC), also included Janet Camilo, Minister for Women; Millizen Uribe, journalist and activist for women's rights and Dinys Luciano, researcher and international consultant on violence against women and girls. It is part of a series deployed by INTEC, to analyze the impacts of COVID-19 from various orders.
Redefine care agenda
The Minister of Women, Janet Camilo, considered that in the Dominican Republic women are in quintiles one and two of poverty, and the sectors that have suffered the most from the pandemic is precisely where women have the greatest presence, such as the chain of services, the informal market, hotels, and beauty salons.
"This social issue shows that domestic work continues to be made invisible by world economies, and today the importance is placed again on the social scene of each State. Take direct initiatives to quantify how much women contribute to the gross domestic product, through of the agenda of the city, "said Camilo.
In the area of violence, he said that "in the Dominican Republic I cannot say that violence has neither decreased nor increased". He highlighted that the Woman line (* 212), from March 17 to May 13, has received 1,295 calls, the registry of five femicides and 327 women, girls and adolescents have received in the foster homes, figures that represent a decrease in compare them with the same period of the year.
However, the official stressed that this decrease is due to the fact that women are unable to call, cannot access the services offered by the ministry because they are confined and do not have the security to do so, and for other variables.
Meanwhile, Dinys Luciano, researcher and international consultant, said that the articulation of this health, economic and social crisis has generated particular characteristics for the violence that women experience.
“First, as in most health and humanitarian crises, there is an increase in violence in the public and private spheres in which women carry out their lives; second, there are new ways, expressions and contexts in which these violence occur, and third, the risks, vulnerabilities and impacts are differentiated, "said Luciano.
The journalists before the pandemic
Meanwhile, journalist and activist Milizen Uribe said that in the media the absence of approaches with gender perspectives in relation to the impact of COVID-19 on women persists, first in official information and then in the news.
For Uribe, some challenges are in making the impact of COVID-19 in women's lives visible in the media, such as access to health, unemployment, violence and political participation. In addition, expand coverage to the potentialities and diversity of roles and influence public policies and private sector initiatives.